I hear these words being uttered, from both young and old, seemingly at no avail. Happiness is the single most important thing to strive for to many people, and for good reason. If variety is the spice of life, happiness is truly the dish all good spices will be served along side with.
But, to be honest, I’m not sure that happiness is the ‘end all, be all’.
Sure, being happy yourself is important, but if I’ve learned anything in life so far, it’s that you can’t expect to be happy all the time, and you will have to do things you don’t want to do. What’s more, you will be faced with decisions where you must choose between your own happiness and others’. While the choice may be simple for those who subscribe to the above philosophy, I’m not sure it’s as easy for all of us.
Happiness and Enjoyment as an Ideal
Rather than personal happiness and enjoyment being the norm, I see them as ideals. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy each day, though. But that euphoric “I’m getting what I want” feeling – that feeling of self-satisfaction – should not be the only goal. Why? Why would anyone choose to give up the pursuit of such a feeling?
First off, it’s not that you’re giving it up. Instead, you’re sacrificing the constant self-joy for the greater joy of others. It’s about taking our imagined self-importance and giving it a reality check. We may be the most important people in our own eyes, but to the world, we are just another person. Once we can get past focusing on the micro, we can begin to really understand and affect the macro.
Second, reconsidering the priority of personal happiness is important because we must realize that it is impossible to be happy all of the time. Just like that ham and cheese sandwich will start to taste different after weeks of eating it, so will the routine of the everyday. Plus, the world will throw random challenges, tragedies, and let downs your way. Making it through life unscathed is such things is, to put it lightly, very lucky.
Finally, once we make happiness an ideal, not just for ourselves but others, and then we work toward achieving that ideal, we will be making ourselves happy, and we’ll be bringing others along for the ride too. Committing yourself to an ideal is said to make one more than just a ‘person’ – it makes you into something much greater, something much more worth admiring. It takes commitment to defy our natural inclinations, but if one succeeds, they will have reached a level of strength few are able to feel.
Be Inspired for More
Simply put, be inspired to do more. Self-satisfaction and personal gain are good things to aim for, but don’t let them be your single most important pathways in life. Instead, aim to better the world around, epitomize happiness by bringing it to others, and committing yourself to something much greater than worldly pleasures and conceded pursuits.
Rather than seeing the self as a shell we must simply protect, fuel, and pleasure, I argue we should see the self as an agent of change – a tool provided to us to exercise our conscious. I doubt there is any tool greater than a person, especially when employed the very mind that control the person.
Be inspired to walk the line of the ‘good’ life. The road is rocky and will make you wonder why it’s considered the good life, but at the end, when you’re looking back at what you’ve done, you’ll weep with the real joy you’ve actually found.